Best Value Beginner Package on the market - Freedom Foil Boards?

I’ve been looking hard at local used listings and the various starter kits offered by Real, MacKites, Gong, etc.

I’m 78 kg with experience kiteboarding, wakeboarding, snowboarding, but not foiling. Based on the Outer Banks of NC, so we have plenty of 15-20 mph days, but also plenty of 20-30 mph days depending on season and location.

It seems like the Freedom Foil Boards Beginner Wing package is the best value I can find for a non-inflatable board. $2000 for their Wingnut Board, the Halcyon 1030 Foil, and a Session Wing of choice. The wingnut comes in 65 L, 90 L, 120L. I understand that common knowledge would be to go for the 90L at my weight, but then later people move smaller, so I’m waffling between adding more learning pain with the 65L to extend the time I’ll want to keep the board.

Looking at local used listings, there’s a Cabrinha Code 5’ 75 liters (with a couple repairs) with a Lift 200 V2 for sale for 1700. No Wing included, but there are a couple of beat up Airrush V2 wings 3m, 4m, listed for $500. If I get the FFB kit, I could get a 6M or 5M wing and still supplement with the Airrush wings for a full quiver of wind options.

I can’t find a lot of discussion of the FFB Wingnut Board or Halcyon 1030, but what I did see seemed positive enough, minus the deck grips delaminating a lot. I also like that the progression foils seem to work well with the FFB box placement if I would move into them later, though I might end up needing to swap the whole board any way.

I’ve also toyed with the idea of immediately getting a downwind board and progression foil and trying to learn winging on that to skip all the buying and selling in the middle, but I’m not sure if the pain is worth it.

Anyone have any thoughts on these options or potentially another option I haven’t found? I’m looking for the best value both in terms of startup costs, but also in terms of how long I’ll be able to use / augment the setup before moving on.


Another factor is the wind where you live…

Here in Florida the wind is light. That smaller Freedom 1030 foil and a sub-body-weight board would make learning a miserable experience, even with your waterman background. You would need real wind power to get it going. You would be just making it hard for yourself.

If you live in a light wind area like Florida, and your goal is to learn fast, then you need time on the water… time up on foil. So I would buy gear that’s bigger…

Big board (your weight plus 10 minimum). Big foil (1500+). Big wing (6m). Then you will learn fast at a time when you are extremely inefficient with all these toys.

The good thing is, even as you get better, you can still use your big gear for the light wind days when your smaller gear simply won’t get you going… Or for teaching your friends (and then selling it to them once you get them hooked!).

Ask 10 foilers, you will get 10 opinions. But that’s mine.


Thanks for your thoughts.

I’m on the Outer Banks of NC - we get pretty good wind here depending on how far we drive. Plenty of 15-20 mph days, but also plenty of ~25 mph days, especially if we drive down south.

I could get the 6M in the kit to make sure I have enough oomph to get going. I’ve heard that its better to have a bigger board and a smaller wing, though so I could do the 90L and the 5M potentially as well and just make sure I got out on the right days at first.

I like the idea of teaching the friends and selling the gear on that way! Pay it forward!


How crazy would it be to use a downwind board for a big board? I understand they can be a bit tippy, but also that can be countered by the size of the foil under the water.

Ooh, Outer Banks! Nice!

Yeah, with all the wind there, you could get away with that Freedom package…

I assume the 1030 will be a fast foil… which will make for a thrilling experience learning! But you are used to speed on a board. The big downside with a smaller foil like this is it take a lot of energy to get it in the air, board speed and pumping the wing, unless its really windy.

The 90-liter Freedom is 26.5 wide. So it will be quick too. But stable enough at your weight to learn on.

A downwind board seems like adding difficulty to the equation. And you live in a windy area where you’d probably have the most fun on the 90-liter all-around board.

Your call on wings. 5m would do it for you for sure, with a bit of cussing at the wind in the lulls and with your inefficiency for the first few weeks. Then after a month it would likely be your bread and butter daily driver. Maybe after 6 months, your bread and butter might be a 4.5.

6m Freedom with the Airush 4m would get you flying any day there, except when it’s nuking. The Airush is a really good wing. Smooth through a large wind range. Easy to use. Does nothing wrong. And takes a beating! I’ve owned it from 7m to 3m. Still use the 3m, a few times a year and in the Gorge. There seem to be a lot of those Airush wings on closeout, so you should be able to get the price down.

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Let me add the caveat that I haven’t ridden any Freedom gear!

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Thanks for the additional feedback. This particular sport / industry is so spread out and niched down that it seems unlikely that I’ll get a lot of feedback on any piece of gear (let alone comparisons) that isn’t at the very top of the food chain, but I appreciate all your insights very much!

It’s good to know where I’m on the right track with my thinking, and where I need to adjust.

Thanks again!

Yeah man! You’re welcome.

One other thought… A foil that size (1030) makes it a bit sketchy to learn your first transitions… jibes. The reason is, you really need to do the transitions at a faster speed with that foil than you are comfortable with to stay on foil through the whole transition. Bigger slower foils generally have a lower stall speed, which gives you time to figure out learning transitions.

Funny thing is, as you get better, the faster foils can stay on foil for a long time through the transitions due to sheer speed.

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I think the FFB is a very good value. I weigh 80kg and had the 90L with the Lift 200 surf. I highly recommend you go with the 120L. 90L was tippy for me and tough to get out of the hole at 15 knots days, which we have a lot of in SC. I was trying in the surf. Flat water, if you have it, would definitely ease the learning and make a 90 more doable. I never got the knack and gave up after many sessions. Not a glowing endorsement per se, but I really wish I had got the bigger one. I think more volume would give you more fun faster. They are easy to sell to beginners later too.

For what it’s worth, I am a surfer and not a wind guy. Proning has been an easier learning curve for me. And I ride FFB rubix and like their boards. Still consider myself a beginner. So take that for what it’s worth. You may have better luck as a kite surfer.

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Someone grab that $500 2 wing freedom package on mac kite and report back on quality!

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The email about the freedom 2 wing package explained it perfectly. It’s not the best, but it’s not the worst. It’s just an average wing and there are lots of those so $500 for 2 is a perfect price.

The freedom foil is also pedestrian I hear. I would learn on something larger/slower just to make life easier. I feel like the $2000 price is a bit high. But it’s all new gear and in a package, so ease of buying is worth it.

Just be forewarned. This is the most gear hungry sport you’ll likely do in the water. You’ll want to spend another 2 grand in a month.

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Yes to follow up on this, there is a Real Watersports video reviewing the Wingnut, and in that video they are using the Freedom wings and the summary of their thoughts was that it was a fine, unremarkable wing that was a little soft but usable.

Someone was flying the Session wing in the background and jumping around - it seemed to be higher performance but they didn’t directly address it in that video.

I hear all of that 100%. I’m basically already eyeing a downwind board and it is annoying to think that I’ll have to sell everything within a year to upgrade once I progress enough. I can get a 100L downwind board that I know will see continued use with some lightwind foil system like Axis, Cloud IX, or Unifoil that will probably cost more than twice as much to get started with but will actually see continued use, or go this route.

The other problem is that the new FFB kit seems to be cheaper than the local used gear that is currently listed. I can get a 75L Cabrinha Code (with some repairs) with a Surf v200 for 1700, and two airrush wings (also with canopy repairs) for 500 (2200 total), or I could get a brand new kit (bigger 90L or 120L board) with 3 wings (1 session, 2 freedom) for 2500, or just 1 session wing for 2000.

It seems like maybe the local used market just isn’t in sync with the value, especially given how this stuff seems to get replaced so quickly during this period of rapid evolution in gear. I was around for the advent of the bowkite in kiteboarding, and this reminds me of the rush of evolution during the immediate years that followed with new iterations quickly replacing the models from the previous year.

Another good point, and one that I’ll need to ponder as I continue to stew over the options. I wonder why they didn’t package in one of their larger foils instead of a midsized one. I appreciate it!

You are going to REALLY struggle learning on a sub 90L board no matter the wind. The reason is because you won’t be able to easily stand and balance on the board to focus on controlling the wing and flying the foil. There are three major variables to control in winging (foiling, board control/float, and flying the wing), big boards take out a variable.

That being said you may only need a big board for 5-10 sessions so I would recommend borrowing a 110L (or buying it used and then selling it) for your first few months then dropping liters. As soon as you are good enough you will want to get rid of it and only use it to teach friends/family.

My personal progression (75kg in Florida winds/waves) is as follows: 5 sessions on 110L, bought a 75L Fanatic and used that for at least 150 sessions, now on a 45L FFB Nugget as much as physically possible.

In retrospect I should have dropped from the 75L to a true sinker (45L) much earlier, maybe after 25 or 50 sessions on the 75L, the tiny wingboards are an order of magnitude more fun and much closer to prone foiling.

In regards to wingdings I have always liked Duotone, the Unit is on sale and is fantastic, get a 5m. I love booms so the Slick is my personal favorite.

In regards to foils it depends on your budget, if you have cash to spare you should just get the Unifoil Progression 170. I wing it all the time and it’s great from 10knots to ~22knots, very low stall speed and stable. Plus it’s best wing for prone foil surfing tiny waves. On a budget then get used Axis setup, they are good for winging and lots of used gear available.

Hello @JKicker

There’s another option in the market, the AFS Access Pack, It seems the FFB package it’s unbeatable in price.

Though, you might want to consider the AFS pack as it is a properly beginners rig.
I would definitely recommend you not to go under 90L, for starting you want stability to properly understand and progress with your foil.

The FFB it’s a better option of foil for a progressing intermediate rider, it glides and carves well from what I’ve heard, but when begining, you want a lot of forgiveness so you get to understand all the nuances of flying and get to the point of managing both sides (regular and goofy), transitions, etc.
Take your time to enjoy the learning process, it’ll solidify your enjoyment of progressing to the top ladder.

I think you could ask them if they can give you a 4M instead of the 5m on the package, I always enjoy the high volume and small wing.

About considering a DW board, I would suggest if you take that road, to go for “hybrid” kind of DW board, not the barracudas like shape. Mentioning again AFS, the BlackBird is a 90 or 110 board that has enough stability to properly wing in light winds (even in strong ones) and sup foil it with some degree of better than a too narrow board.

Have a good one!! Super cool that you are entering this beautiful sport!

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Thanks for sharing your experience - everything you are saying makes sense and is even more helpful since we are at a similar weight.

This is interesting to me, and I’d like to dig into this a bit further, because one potential long term plan is to move into the Unifoil (progression) system.

Is the Progression 170 a much better beginner foil than the Halcyon 1030?

Progression 170 stats: 1097 Square cm, 953cm Span (assuming that should be 95.3 cm - the unifoil charts don’t seem to have decimals at all but otherwise the span would be massive), 8.9 Aspect Ratio. They are calling this a hybrid with the pumpability of a HA but turning like a mid aspect.

Halcyon 1030 stats: 1030 Square cm, 86 cm Span, 7.2 Aspect Ratio. They are calling this a “mid / high aspect” (well balanced and predictable mid aspect feel with the superior glide of a HA).

Is this span difference (95.3 cm vs 86cm) significant? My understanding is that with the advent of these different aspect ratio foils, the span is the main thing to keep in mind for beginners instead of the total square surface area, but that might be misinformed.

Going by the recommended criteria above from XLFL, my first foil should be 1500+ square cm, and I had a recommendation on the seabreeze forum to go with at least 1200+. Neither of these foils meet either criteria, but is it the longer span difference that contributes to a slower speed overall for the progression 170 thereby making it more beginner friendly, or would the speed and beginner experience on these two be fairly comparable?

I know that the Progression 170 is uncharacteristically slow for its size since it was tuned for FL waves, which I guess would address some of the concerns that XLFL brought up about the 1030 being a bit too fast for jibing and learning in general.

Of course if I were to go that route, it blows up my FFB deal, so I’d probably be scraping something together locally and hoping all of the pieces ended up working.

$2300 for the Progression 170 full kit, ~800 for a local used board, $500 for some wings = $3600

More up front, but at least I’d be into a foil system that I could stick with as well as the wings, meaning I’d just have to sell off the board later.

Food for thought indeed.

Thanks for your insights again, Omar! I saw footage of you on the BlackBird and it looks like fun! I could totally see something like that and the Progression 170 being a reasonable attempt at “cheating” my way through the learning stages without having to immediately upgrade everything.

I’ll definitely supplement whatever wing I get with the package with at least one more. Was thinking 4m and 5m or 4m and 6m just to be safe for lighter winds and especially if I went with the 90L instead of the 110-120 L option, but I know that 6M won’t be fun to hold onto all the time so a 5 would probably better serve long term.

So many nuances and variables in this sport - it is quite overwhelming - thanks for sharing your knowledge!

Buy nice or buy twice for the foil and the wing. A used, but good condition, current-year 5m should last you for a couple years. Mackite just put up a few used 5m wings including an FOne Swing for $500, Real often sells used gear, Ive gotten some crazy good used deals from Windance. If you want to save some coin and buy new, I find that the Takoon wings are exceptional value (although not “premium” feel or features).

Similarly, figure out what foil system has a broad range of good options, and try to get a used mast and foil within that ecosystem so you can continue to build the quiver. Axis, Armstrong, Lift, Uni, FOne, Cabrinha, etc… are all great options. Or get an aluminum Cedrus and use everything. You mentioned you like Unifoil, so start on an Axis setup (or buy a big Vyper), which you can eventually use with Uni with the adapter. Honestly, It would suck to buy a Freedom foil setup and then be stuck on that system with effectively zero resale value.

Buy something used, inexpensive and large for the board, or rent. I agree with others that you should focus on 90L+ for your first board. Don’t look at the board as an investment, assume you are going to sell it and don’t spend a lot of money here.

My $0.02 - You seem to be gravitating towards the sexy gear (vague references to downwind boards and Unifoil setups). Learn the sport on easy gear first and forget about the sexy stuff until you actually know what you want. And don’t buy the FFB package.


The used foil market is dead. Once the next generation comes out the previous stuff is near worthless.

The best foil is the one you can ride today. So just keep that in mind. The Freedom deal is fine and will last you for at least a year. Break it down this way.

2 wings at $250 each = $500
foil at $700
board for $800.

You will be able to sell that foil for $450 to a beginner in a year.
The wings like we said earlier are fine. You will break and tear them same as you would an expensive wing. Wings are made from tissue paper.
That’s a decent deal for a new board.

Even if you bought f-one sk8 for $2200. F-one swing for whatever those cost. F-one carbon board for $2000+ You’ll still want to buy something new next year haha. Why would someone pay top dollar for the used f-one gear to learn when they could buy 2nd hand freedom gear for less? They don’t know the difference and are used to bro-deal’s on clear surfboards where they drop off a 6 pack to the shaper.